1804 Institute
Breaking Barriers for Black People Everywhere

Maroonage in Haiti: The Haitian Perspective._ Prospere Charles, PhD; June 28, 2017

Maroonage is a way of life that is as mysterious and misunderstood in today's society as it was in the 1500's. In Ayiti, contrary to popular belief, historical evidence suggest that Maroonage did not initially start with Black Africans, although the enslaved people from Africa ultimately perfected it. Bartolome de Las Casas, a Spanish Priest who saw first-hand and wrote extensively about the indigenous people in the Caribbean, reported that the natives, called the Tainos for some or the Arawaks for others when faced with forced labors, cruel and inhuman treatments from the settlers, would have started timidly the maroonage movement. In the Short Account of The Destruction of the Indies, Las Casas wrote:

"It was upon these gentle lambs, imbued by the Creator with all the qualities we have mentioned, that from the very first day they clapped eyes on them the Spanish fell like ravening wolves upon the fold, or like tigers and savage lions who have not eaten meat for days. The pattern established at the outset has remained unchanged to this day, and the Spaniards still do nothing save tear the natives to shreds, murder them and inflict upon them untold misery, suffering and distress, tormenting, harrying and persecuting them mercilessly…"

"These simple creatures" he continued, "in whom one can't find neither malice nor deception but love and reverence for the settlers, would run away to hide their pains and sufferings" (Las Casas, 1552).

 Runaway was, in fact, the last option for the Tainos. As earlier as 1495, exactly three years after the Colons would have arrived, the Tainos would challenge them to an open battle in La Vega Real, a vast plain area believed to have extended from the Dominican Republic to Ayiti (see map below). This challenge was in direct response to the inhuman exploitation and cruelty decried by Las Casas. There are conflicting accounts as to what....Read more

Working Research Paper: The Diaspora Barometer._Prospere Charles, PhD; January 20, 2017 


As Haiti finally elected a constitutional government after more than a year of electoral turmoil, the focus now must be redirected toward alleviating poverty in the country. The World Bank estimates that extreme poverty in Haiti affects nearly one fourth of the population, with 2.5 million people living on US $1.23 a day. More than 6 million people, or 59% of the population, live on less than US $2 a day. Putting these numbers into a regional context, Haiti’s closest neighbor, the Dominican Republic (DR), has an overall poverty rate of about 30%, i.e. half of Haiti’s poverty rate, and the average poverty level for the whole Caribbean region is about 25%, a decline from a high of over 40% just few years ago....Read more